Banele Ginindza

Allegations of financial manipulation by the FirstRand Group were put to rest yesterday at the North Gauteng High Court, where litigant Barry Spitz was restrained by the court from making them if he did not have evidence to substantiate his claims to that effect.

Spitz, who flew solo as the plaintiff and legal counsel, failed once again in attempts to suggest inappropriate behaviour by the banking group, which he alleged had concealed some transactions for which he did work.

The court, presided over by Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann, sustained several objections from FirstRand’s counsel, advocate Nic Maritz, who was at pains to point out that Spitz was abusing the litigation process by making allegations for which he had no direct evidence.

Spitz, an admitted advocate to the court, made heavy weather of his submissions, in which he sought to prove that FirstRand had been paid for work he did, but for which he had not been paid commission.

“If you are not going to call the clients of the bank as witnesses, it is unnecessary to involve the bank’s clients who will then be dragged into a dispute in which they have no part,” Judge Bertelsmann cautioned.

Spitz said although he had no direct evidence of payments made to the bank by trusts that fell under his portfolio during his tenure of consultancy, he had a panel of experts from his firm, the International Law and Taxation Institute, who could prove that certain revenue generated by the group at the time was in relation to work he had undertaken.

Maritz repeatedly made objections of relevance to submissions made by Spitz, who said he was enlightening the court about the processes intrinsic to his field of work.

Some of the most telling bruises to his testimony related to the treatment of documents in discovery and whether or not they had been admitted as such by the court.

The court adjourned to give Spitz the opportunity to read the affidavit and, thereafter, to engage the defendants on their objections.